The Giants have dropped two straight to the Pirates, who clinched their first series win over San Francisco since May 1999 at Three Rivers Stadium.
San Francisco is 1-4 on its six-game homestand—getting outscored 27-17— and has lost eight of its last 11 to drop seven games below .500.
“We’re at the danger point right now,” said Brett Tomko, Saturday’s losing pitcher. “You can’t let it slip too far into the season.”
San Francisco will try to avoid the sweep without Barry Bonds, who missed his second straight game because of back spasms as the Giants fell 6-4 to the Pirates on Saturday. The Giants don’t expect the six-time NL MVP to return to the lineup until Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.
The Giants’ slugger is mired in a 2-for-24 slump, but has 18 walks and seven runs in that span.
Edgardo Alfonzo has been hot of late for the Giants. The third basemen had three hits on Saturday, including his first homer of the season and a two-run single. He is batting .500 (7-for-14) with four RBIs during the six-game homestand.
“There is a lot of life in his bat now,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said of Alfonzo. “It seems like he’s got it going. I’ll try to keep him in the lineup.”
The Giants threatened in the ninth with the bases loaded Saturday, but Marquis Grissom grounded into a game-ending double play—San Francisco’s major league-leading 46th.
“They battle back every day,” said Alou. “It’s not that they are flat or giving up. We are just falling short.”
Pittsburgh has won three straight and four of five following a season-high six-game losing streak.
Craig Wilson hit his team-leading ninth homer while Jason Kendall drove in three runs on Saturday. Kendall has a six-game hitting streak after going 0-for-14 in his previous four games. He is batting .344 for his career at SBC Park (21-for-61).
STANDINGS (through May 14): Pirates - 6th place, 5 GB, NL Central. Giants - tied for 3rd place, 8 GB, NL West.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Kip Wells (2-4, 4.58 ERA). Wells, 0-3 in his last four starts, lasted just four innings against Colorado on Tuesday, allowing five runs and six hits as Pittsburgh went on to win 15-10. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA in three career starts against the Giants.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Jerome Williams (3-2, 4.01 ERA). The right-hander was forced to leave his last start early with a strained biceps, allowing three runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings of the Giants’ 10-4 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday. Williams did not receive a decision in his only previous start against the Pirates, allowing three earned runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Jack Wilson, .347 avg.; Craig Wilson, 9 HRs and 27 RBIs; Jack Wilson and Craig Wilson, 20 runs; Jack Wilson and Kendall, 4 SBs. Giants - Bonds, .360 avg., 10 HRs, 27 runs and 3 SBs; Bonds and Pedro Feliz, 22 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Pirates, 2-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - The Pirates improved to 5-10 in San Francisco since the new ballpark opened in 2000. … OF Tike Redman didn’t start for the first time this season Saturday, but entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning as part of a double-switch. He went 0-for-4 Friday and grounded into his first double play of the season. … RHP Jose Mesa earned his 11th save in as many chances Saturday. Giants - INF Ray Durham went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI single Saturday, but was lifted in the ninth because he was favoring his left leg. Durham, who is recovering from a strained left knee, will be re-evaluated Sunday. … Giants closer RHP Robb Nen is headed home to Southern California for a month off from throwing and rehabilitation on his ailing shoulder. … C A.J. Pierzynski is 6-for-12 (.500) with two doubles and four RBIs career against RHP Wells.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 12-8 on the road; Giants - 9-13 at home.